Chicago: six must-see exhibitions

Claire Voon , Art Basel, November 18, 2021

David Antonio Cruz, ‘icutfromthemiddletogetabetterslice’
Monique Meloche Gallery
Through December 18, 2021

In this tender and uplifting solo exhibition at Monique Meloche Gallery, David Antonio Cruz celebrates a freedom particularly significant for queer and trans people of color: that to create chosen families, clans that provide mutual care, understanding, and support. The brightly colored, realist paintings on view continue Cruz’s embrace of large-scale figuration to advocate for queer visibility, and they feature intergenerational and interracial sitters at ease, lounging in poses that evoke the sensuality yet carefreeness of Balthus’ girls. The centerpiece of this show – Cruz’s second with the gallery, who will also present his work at Art Basel in Miami Beach – is a monumental diptych that is among the artist’s most crowded portraits to date: Nine models from his personal circles pile on and around a plush settee, leaning against each other with piercing gazes that fight for the viewer’s attention. The strength of these bonds is further alluded to in dramatic wax pencil renderings of deep-rooted Ceiba trees.